Category Archives: Software

Software

Apple iLife 09 Enhancing your iLife

life 4

Apple iLife 09 Enhancing your iLife

Apple iLife ‘09’s fancy features promises to make working with images and videos a breeze.

Announced at this year’s Macworld, iLife 09’s new flashy features caught the attention of the Mac community.

Although it wasn’t as groundbreaking as most Mac fans were hoping for, it still has a few impressive features such as face recognition for photos and image stabilisation for videos. For the purpose of the review, we will mainly focus on the new features of iPhoto ‘09 and iMovie ‘09.

HIT AND MISS: The face detection algorithm for Faces occasionally goofs up and detects non-human objects, such as the cushion in the picture above, as a face.

EASY-TO-USE: iMovie retains the same user interface though it now comes with a few nifty new features like image stablisation and precision editing.

Pros: Faces and Places helpful for managing photos; easy to create slideshows; iMovie’s intuitive drag-and-drop interface.

Cons: Face recognition can be improved; Places interface a little clunky; audio editing in iMovie hasn’t improved.

iLife ‘09

(Apple Computer)

Multimedia creation suite

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard)

Price: RM299 (bundled free with new Macs)

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Photoshop CS4 Extended the best gets better

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Adobe Photoshop CS4aaa

Photoshop CS4 Extended the best gets better

Taking an already extensive and powerful photo editing tool and making it better is a tall order and yet Adobe has done it with Photoshop CS4 Extended.

SEAMLESS PANORAMA: Although not new in Photoshop CS4, the Photomerge has been made even better with more advanced automated analysis and blending.

MORE DEPTH: Photoshop CS4‘s Merge and Blend allows you to blend several shots of the same subject with different focal points into one photo with extended depth-of-field.

SPEEDY: One of the more major changes in Adobe Bridge is that the application launches faster and displays thumbnails faster too.

Conclusion

As usual, every new generation of Photoshop puts the software even further ahead of its rivals, and Photoshop CS4 Extended is no exception.

While probably not revolutionary, Photoshop CS4 has hundreds of little tweaks and interface changes that together make up for quite a lot.

I for one, am very happy with how Adobe has concentrated on maximising the viewing space and still have all the important tools at your fingertips, something which I feel Creative Suite 3 had really taken a step backwards with in its panels and toolbox design.

In fact, there are so many little changes in Photoshop CS4 I have only barely scratched the surface of the number of new features you can find in it.

Of course, being that the software costs RM4,099 it’s probably not worth upgrading to if you’re a casual user who already has Photoshop CS3, but for an imaging professional, this is certainly a worthy upgrade.

Pros: GPU acceleration; improved menus; lots of small tweaks and new features.

Cons: Pricey.

Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended

(Adobe Systems Inc)

System requirements: 1.8GHz processor or faster, 512MB RAM, 1GB HDD space, 1,024 x768-pixels display, 16-bit video card with OpenGL 2.0 and Shader Model 3.0 (or newer), QuickTime 7.2, Internet connection required.

Price: RM4,099 for Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended, or RM10,239 for Adobe Creative Suite 4 Master Collection

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Spyware Doctor

Spyware Doctor is a spyware removal product for Microsoft Windows developed by PC Tools.

Spyware Doctor scans a PC for spyware, examining files on the hard drive, objects in memory, the Windows registry and cookies, and then attempts to quarantine or remove recognized threats. It also includes real-time protection which attempts to block threats from being saved to the disk, set to startup automatically, suspicious programs running and other detection including new toolbars and add-ons for web browsers.

Spyware Doctor is designed for Windows 2000 and XP. Spyware Doctor also supports 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows Vista and Windows 7.

They implement Automatic Subscription Renewal which unless cancelled causes them to debit your credit card annually.

It is normally purchased as a yearly subscription which includes new versions and updates, and is available online as well as in retail stores. PC Tools, like other security companies such as McAfee and Symantec, has now implemented an automatic renewal system whereby customer’s subscriptions are renewed every year automatically until canceled.

Spyware Doctor is not free, but a free scan version is offered, providing real-time protection and scans for spyware. Only the full version is capable of removing spyware (though a user can use the free version to locate where the spyware is and then manually remove the files and registry entries themselves). Spyware often includes both files located on the hard drive and entries in the Windows registry.

Spyware Doctor Starter Edition was included in the Google Pack in March 2007. This version allows scan and removal of threats using an older version of the program, limited real-time protection, but a database with only 60% of the definition files, which does not include some viral threats.

Spyware Doctor received the PC World Best Buy award in the October 2007 issue of the magazine saying “PC Tools’ Spyware Doctor 5.0 was the clear winner, outperforming the competition at detecting and removing our test set of adware and spyware samples.”

Spyware Doctor has received several Editors’ Choice awards from PC Magazine, including one for Spyware Doctor with AntiVirus 5.5 in 2008. The product has also received numerous other awards from around the globe.

Not all reviews have been positive and early versions of Spyware Doctor 5.0, which the company rewrote from scratch, received some negative commentary. CNET’s Download.com reviews, justifies the 3-star rating by saying, “in our trial scans, Spyware Doctor repeatedly flagged several dozen harmless cookies as potential threats, more than any other antispyware product we tested. We were also unable to learn more about each threat or why Spyware Doctor flagged each.”